Donna H.

Month: May, 2013

The End of my 3rd Year…

So 5 boxes and a suitcase into my packing, I realised I didn’t have enough room for all my stuff.  How is it possible to gather so much rubbish over the course of a year?! I HATE PACKING.  It’s that time of year again.  I’m gathering all my wordly belongings together to leave Glasgow and head home to Shetland for the summer.  This is always something that makes me feel a mixture of excitement to go home, sadness to leave Glasgow and panic that another year is over.  But this time I’m feeling even more dramatic.  Because this may be the last summer I ever spend at home.  September marks the beginning of the 4th and final year of my undergraduate degree and then who knows what’s in store… I’m not ready for it to be nearing an end.  I love Glasgow.  I love being a student.  I love my long summers back in Shetland.  And I love going back to work in the little shop I have had a part time job at since I was 12.  I don’t want any of it to end.  (If I’m feeling this now, god knows how much of a drama queen I’ll be once 4th year is over)

Reflecting back on third year, it’s been a strange one.  I was telling my mam on the phone how Glasgow hadn’t quite been up to scratch for me this year since all my flatmates are gone.  I’ve been feeling a little bit lonely and sorry for myself.  But looking for photos for this blog post was nice because it made me realise I actually had a great year.

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I moved into my new flat in September.  There was 5 of us girls who shared last year.  We first met in halls and I’d now class the girls as some of my best friends.  Two of them did their third year abroad – Padova in Italy & Hong Kong! So the Cate, Anna and I, who were left in Glasgow were moving in together again for the year.  Because of illness and placement in London, the two of them also left Glasgow come 2nd semester which was why I was feeling pretty alone! There was no more spontaneous nights out, duvet days in front of the TV or just general chit chat whilst cooking my tea.  I hated living alone at first. But as time went on it grew on me then my course-mate Judith moved in with me a little while later. I still had my other Glasgow friends as well as Ewan coming through to see me/me visiting him in Edinburgh.  So it wasn’t all bad, just not quite the same.  

Halloween

I think winter is my favourite season. I absolutely love the sunshine and how happy it makes everyone but there’s something magical about Christmas lights, fireworks, hot drinks on a cold dark night and the number of parties that are thrown.

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Between that and the fact my flatmates were around, I think the first semester of 3rd year wins hands down!

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My birthday is in winter too so that helps! It was my 20th but soon after Christmas, it became the year of the 21st for our group of friends which has so far been great fun. Not a clue what I’ll do for mine yet.

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Another thing I love is the Christmas markets! I manage to spend a small fortune every year at the one in Glasgow at St Enoch Square. I just can’t help it with the mulled wine & cider, the pick n mix, the fake snow and most importantly – olives! Olives get me every time.

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While I was home at Christmas, The View came to play at Mareel, our new cinema and music venue in Shetland. I love them and we don’t usually get many famous bands up so it was pretty exciting and a great night.

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Auld Lang Syne at New Year. I was ill and on lots of medication so didn’t drink this year but ended up having the best New Year’s Eve I’ve had in a long time.
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My beautiful nephew, Lukas was born in January – definitely the highlight of my year.

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My brother playing a house gig in Edinburgh in the coolest house I’ve ever been in. If you like folk music then here are the links… Link to the band, Aamos’ page. My brother’s website. Here’s the Twitter page for the house that hosted the gig too, although I believe due to problems with the council they’ve had to find a new venue.

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Love me some pizza.

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This is my go to starter when I’m cooking for people now. Makes me look a bit posh when really it’s far from it! I use 2 glass dishes from Gu puddings – one for balsamic vinegar & olive oil and one for olives. The focaccia and the olives are both from Aldi so cheap as chips but tasty and well presented!

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As seen in my April posts (Here and here) I had a great time in Norway for my nephew’s christening over our Easter break.

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I’m always admiring the views on the train/bus when travelling around Scotland and I aim to see more of it next year. Ewan and I went to Oban last weekend to visit his Gran for her birthday. I hope to share my pictures from that with you soon, although they’re just taken on my phone. It was lovely and the scenery the whole way there was amazing – especially Inveraray and Connel.

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Pancakes – yum! My sister has started making pancakes every few weekends as my nieces and nephew loved them so much on Pancake Day. Pretty envious to say the least.

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Studying for final exams in both January & May was obviously the worst part of each semester but the January results paid off and hopefully the May ones have too! Fingers crossed.

So all in all, it’s fair to say I’ve had a pretty great year. Now here’s to a great summer too!

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Diabetic Clinic & HbA1c

Time for my second diabetes post.  Every 2-4 months most of us diabetic folks go to the “diabetic clinic” to check our HbA1c (reflects your average blood sugar readings), height, weight, bloods and have a chat about how things are going.  

For years and years my HbA1c has been too high.  I think I first “lost control” of my diabetes  when I first started doing exams in school. It’s hard enough to pretend to be a pancreas but with added exam stress and comfort eating it gets even more difficult!
For a while it’s been around 11-12% which is far too high. After seeing a dietician and adjusting my carb counting and insulin to carbohydrate ratios I got it down to 9% which is still too high but I was delighted with getting it under 10 and was aiming for the next one to be closer to 7. But this time I went back and it’s back up at 10.6%. I was absolutely devastated. It’s a horrible feeling when it’s too high anyway but when you know you’ve been putting your all into it and thinking about it constantly it’s even worse. It makes me feel like a bit of a failure.

Explanation of what an HbA1c is and what it should be from http://www.diabetes.co.uk/what-is-hba1c.html:

What is HbA1c?

HbA1c occurs when haemoglobin joins with glucose in the blood. Haemoglobin molecules make up the red blood cells in the blood stream.

When glucose sticks to these molecules it forms a glycoslated haemoglobin molecule, also known as A1c and HbA1c.

The more glucose found in the blood the more glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) will be present.

How does HBA1c return an accurate average measurement?

Due to the fact that red blood cells survive for 8-12 weeks before renewal, by measuring HbA1c, an average blood glucose reading can be returned.

  • For non-diabetics, the usual reading is 4-5.9%.

  • For people with diabetes, an HbA1c level of 6.5% is considered good control, although some people may prefer their numbers to be closer to that of non-diabetics.

  • People at greater risk of hypoglycemia may be given a target HbA1c of 7.5%

 

Luckily the consultant I had this time was a LOT more helpful than others. So my grand plan involves testing 8 times a day to figure out where I’m going wrong with my doses, weighing out all my food carefully and getting a proper grip of this. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll keep on top of it and stay motivated. Looking at pictures of diabetic neuropathy on Google sometime helps! 😉 (warning – don’t search it unless you have a strong stomach!!)
So now that my WordPress finally (touch wood) seems to be working, I’ll try to keep up to date with how everything goes.

In other news – EXAMS ARE OVER! Summer is here. Stress is gone. So I’ve been able to spend the last few days relaxing and enjoying the rare Glasgow sunshine, with maybe one or two drinks involved. I’m also going to Oban on Sunday to visit my boyfriend’s Gran for her birthday so hopefully the weather holds.

Yes, I need my fringe cut!

Yes, I need my fringe cut!

Wish me luck on the dosage alterations! And if any diabetic people have any tips, let me know.

The Hidden Lane Tearoom, Glasgow

This post is about… wait for it… my new FAVOURITE cafe in Glasgow. The cutest little tearooms ever hidden down a little lane you’d never normally even notice. Hence the name.

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I’ve been training to volunteer with Glasgow Action for Mental Health – a fantastic organisation which I’m loving being a part of so far! Because I live in the city centre and my friend Ross lives in the lovely West End of Glasgow, I usually make him come to me. But as my training is right next door to his flat, I’ve been stomping on his territory. We decided to “go for a coffee” this Thursday and Ross suggested this place.

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It does table service which I’m a huge fan of. I think the whole coffee chain thing is a bit impersonal and not very charming. Unlike The Hidden Lane Tearoom. The Hidden Lane Tearoom has charm down to a ‘tea’ (See what I did there?!)
My pictures of Ross are a bit rubbish because of the window behind him but here’s him pondering over their menu of various teas and coffees, including teas I’d never seen before…

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This is me being indecisive about how to pose! Do I look at the camera?! Do I look at the menu?!

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The cafe is covered in lots of cute little details and decorations.

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Ross and I both went for scones, although it was a tough decision with loads of delicious looking cakes. I only realised there was Oreo brownies afterwards or I probably would have gone for them. But the scones did not disappoint! Ross went for a “London Fog” which is Earl Grey tea with steamed milk and vanilla. You can also get a Glasgow Fog in Glasgow, not in the tearooms though, which is a similar idea but with coconut I think. I had a chai tea with steamed milk.

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I was trying to get a good photo of Ross pouring his tea but he's not very good at it and spilled everywhere.

I was trying to get a good photo of Ross pouring his tea but he’s not very good at it and spilled everywhere.

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Don’t these cute cars just fit perfectly in the little lane?

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All in all – a lovely day out and a great break from this month’s constant revision.

You can read more about the Hidden Lane Tearoom (which was started by someone who got made redundant twice in one year) here!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

 

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This is me trying to be Asian! I decided on Asia for this week’s photo challenge because it’s probably the culture I try to copy most when I’m at home. Or at least when it comes to food. My kitchen is covered in rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil and so on. I’ve never been to Asia but I am dying to go. A friend from Penang in Malaysia says I should go and see where he’s from and I’d absolutely love to (It was him I took this photo to send to with the caption “How Asian am I?!” Haha I’m such a wannabe!).
The two places I was to go most though are Hanoi and Tokyo. Both of these come from when I was at school. When I was about 15 I was obsessed with Harajuku where all the cool Japanese kids hang out with their crazy styles! I used to stick pictures of them in a scrapbook I had and since then have become fixated on the idea of going to Tokyo. The Hanoi thing came about when I was doing Higher Art & Design. We had to do a design project and make mood board type things to base a piece of jewellery on. Mine was a necklace based on a junk ship. It was when researching these beautiful boats that I came across lots of pictures of Hanoi and my love grew from there.
For now this is all just a pipe dream with a £10 a month deposit going into my “Travel” account! But one day I’ll go…